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Archive for March, 2007

OMG, I am now one of those people!

March 30th, 2007 at 04:48 pm

I can't believe it.
This is so embarassing!
My rent check had bounced. I completely forgot that it did not clear yet. I sent it a month ago and they just put it in now. A day after I moved everything around -- to savings, payment to a cc (in full, as usual.)

I could not believe people could forget things like this, and here it is, happening to me. Now I'll have it in my history and everything.

Oh, and I called the bank, and they were not willing to reverse the $25 fee. Even though this is the first time this happened ever. That makes me unhappy and I am thinking of clothing an account and moving to a credit union at work.

Grocery shoping in NYC

March 28th, 2007 at 06:52 pm

During my lunch break I went to buy few grocery items.
From the supermarket:

$7.00 2 packs waffle mix 12oz each
$8.54 1 pound of coffee
$9.98 1 jar of pine honey 14oz
$4.99 0.5 pound of havarti

From farmers market on Wednesdays:
$3.00 Mashroom-swiss cheese sandwitch(similar would be $6 at the supermarket)
$4.00 6" cherry pie (good deal)
$2.50 dozen of organic eggs (would be 4.30 in the supermarket)
$3.80 -- 2 yogurt drinks (not any cheaper)

Total: 48.11 -- and I can't make a meal out of it. And there is no coupons for any of these things (nor would the supermarket take them)

Family thinks our goals are crazy Part II

March 22nd, 2007 at 09:54 pm

Thank you guys for your responses!

We have done this twice before. Once for 4 month -- with our school and not as much freedom. And once by ourselves, for 8 months and that was fantastic. This was almost 3 years ago, and I long to experience such times again! Since than we only had 3 week vacations -- which where fantastic, but not the same.

My family thinks "enough already". They feel strongly about it, even though I don't see how this concerns them -- we are completely self-sufficient, live by ourselves, never ask for help and don’t have cc debt or car payments (and they do).

Threebeansalad, no I have not read them. Sounds depressing though.
I have been to Russia before (the European part) and I can speak Russian.
Now I am interested in Siberian region for its amazing nature that has not been “civilized” yet.

On our second 8 month trip we lived in China, than hitchhiked across Tibet into Nepal and finished with Russia and Belarus.
I loved that life!!!!
When we studies Chinese we lived in one place. We were biking everywhere, doing homework in the afternoon in bamboo park teahouses. Finishing with classes at 12 noon and going out every single day. We would ride a bike in any random direction for as long as we felt like it. Stopped where we felt like (easy with bikes). So much exploring to do. And everything was cheap to us. For example our rent in a brand new construction apartment was $150 a month. We were always exploring the city, taking daytrips, trying new restaurants, street food, cafes, teahouses, night markets, parks, reserves. Traveling on holidays, taking motorcycle taxis on a highway… (when your motocycle speeds between a truck and a buss on a highway ramp, you get new appreciation for life and enjoy that dinner and drink threefold). But I thought that motorcycle taxis were cool, and that cars were for fat rich tourists. Smile
Ok, I’m getting carried away here...

Family thinks our goals are crazy

March 22nd, 2007 at 03:07 pm

I want to save 38K in order to take a year off work and study the language in a foreign country, backpack around lake Baikal and Siberia and do other fun things.

My family thinks that these are the years when we should be working (and earning the most) having a baby... They think it is insane to risk loosing great jobs that we have.

What is so wrong with wanting to buy a year of your life when you are young -- to live in total freedom, going wherever the wind blows.
Why is this crazy, but buying a new car for the same 38K is OK? Isn't a year of one's youth worth more than a car?

Bought my ticket!!!

March 20th, 2007 at 10:28 pm

I don't know if it would have been best to wait to get the cheaper fare. But many airlines were already sold out in lower economy classes for the dates I needed! (and it is in mid-July, 4 month from now) This seems crazy.

So I lost my nerve and bought it today. $1,440 -- on the airline of my choice.

This is the most expensive ticket I have ever bought, and I have traveled a lot.

Shopping around for a ticket to China

March 20th, 2007 at 07:18 pm

I have not had much luck. I've been looking for 3 weeks, and it only gets more expensive -- even though the travel time is in mid July!

It is on average $200 dollars more expensive than last week.

And I was hoping to get a ticket under 1K.
Now the cheapest option is 1,200.

Cathay Pacific, my favorite, is over 1,500.

Last time I flew, 3 years ago, I got a one-way fare of $338! It was a fantastic deal and I was hoping for a good deal this time. But it just can't be found.

Making lunch - for those who can't cook

March 16th, 2007 at 11:27 pm

I am just not a borne cook. To be honest, I can't stand it. So I don't do it. I make belgian waffles with fresh coffee and fruit on weekends, that is a ritual I like, but anything else...
Seems like a huge waste of time, and somehow it does not come out any cheaper.

So we rarely cook dinner, but that is more or less ok, since we enjoy going out, and our family lives close enough so that they share cooked dinner maybe 2-3 times a week.

However, I want to start attempting making lunch to take to work. It should be simpler. Baby steps.
I have classes during my lunch break, so I normally grab something and eat at my desk. And I am quite tired of everything around. Same things all the time.
But to be worth it to me, what I will make got to be better than what I can buy.

Normally I spend $8-10 on a somewhat healthy lunch. A small soup and half a fresh sandwitch. A salad is $8. (to be fair, it is a good salad)
So I am looking for varied and easy ideas for the culinary challenged.

I have one idea already, inspired by the salad I had today.

Spinach, Goat cheese, wallnuts, canberries, shredded carrot, orange and cooked chicken/turkey. I can buy all the ingredients and they don't require much prep. I'll try it on Tuesday.

I will also write down the cost of ingredients, to see how I fared financially.

What else could someone with no cooking skills make?

Living beyond ones means

March 16th, 2007 at 01:49 am

My relative and her friend who I see often, both recently got new cars. They both make less than us. Both cars are leased.

One is a 37K SUV (and they drive outside the city maybe 1 day a year)

Now they both are complaining that it will cost them a fortune to fix all the little scratches and dents. It is NYC, so bumpers around here take a beating -- some people will try to park in spaces that are smaller than the length of their cars (and will give it several tries before giving up). And since one has to park on the street 100% of the time, you have no control over such things.

The friend makes less than half our income and has 3 dependants. I cannot imagine how she is making it and driving a car 5x the cost of ours(paid in cash).

Both women's main justification is "it would cost us more to buy a used car and keep spending money for repairs." They seem absolutely convinced of it.

Second reason is "working very hard and seing nothing improving in their lives, and therefore deserving it."

That logic sucks. My relative really does work very hard and is always stressed. But I think she would not have to work as hard or feel so stressed about her situation if she did not buy all these high-priced things and did not have debt. She could still live comfortably and within her means if she only gave up on "status symobol" purchases. But she just can't. It is very frustrating. She is 52 and has no retirement savings at all. I really worry about it. But she says "I'll work until I die, such is my fate". I don't believe that she will. But in any case, she'll be miserable. Frown And there is nothing I can do to change her attitude.

I am going to China this summer!

March 13th, 2007 at 06:32 pm

Again. I am looking forward to the trip very much! Though this time it is only for 23 days. (last time it was 8 months)

But now I'm being partially funded. I will be receiving full pay and don't have to use my vacation for this trip. Accomodation and courses are also provided. But I'll have to buy my own airfare and don't get any money towards expences.
I am quite happy and feel it is a good arrangement. (Since I really wanted to go, and the company does not really get anything out of it, other than my slightly improved language skills).

Laptop broke!

March 12th, 2007 at 09:46 pm

It is one thing after another lately.
Now my 6 year old laptop broke again. It has been fixed before (new HD, new memory). But now it is just going hey-wire all over. Many hardware problems. Super-glued parts come off.
I knew I would eventually need to get a new one, but I did not think it would be so soon.

It was an IBM. I am now thinking about a Macbook. Cheapest version will be $1,300. (13" screen, smaller than what I have now)
If I go for the 15" it will be starting at 2K.
I like playing with graphics and videos, so I always wondered what it would be like to have a Mac.

I don't know what to do. Lenovo (ex-IBM) has a small sale now. I could also use Discover cashback bonus to get $120 off and get one for $1,068.
I am still sore over our 2.5K 1 month old!!! IBM with all bells and whistles that was stolen last year (and so I was stuck with the old one again). Now to buy another IBM, that is not even as good... Maybe that's why I am leaning towards Mac.

$2,000 traffic ticket :(

March 8th, 2007 at 05:08 pm

Got a ticket, first one in our driving life. For "disobeying the stop sign".
(not coming to a complete stop -- just slowing down, looking and moving on)

That day cops were just out to get on a mission -- I saw 4 cars being pulled over in a five minute ride from the highway to our house. I never saw this before.

The most frustraing thing is how much it will cost us overall. With absolutely clean record our insurance on a 7 year old car (with $2000 deductible) is about $400 A MONTH! We entered new information while getting a quote, and with one moving violation it will go up to $500!!! dollars a month, for the next 18 months.

This is such a harsh punishment for such a minor offence. Feels very unfair.

Just bought more clothing online

March 5th, 2007 at 04:46 pm

I know it is a no-no. But, I did it anyway. They are very nice and in beautiful colors (I hope the size fits, you never know.)

My only justification is that they are not of the type already own. Something different.

Even though clothing I own is perfectly good, there is this urge for something different. Different styles, colors. A need for change that comes on from time to time.

Overall, it cost me 4 times less money than what I lost last week in the stock market on savings I put into the mutual fund. Frown